85% Of U.S. Doctors Suspect Their Patients Abuse Opioids

Survey shows 77% list medical marijuana as least preferred alternative

MASSACHUSETTS:  The opioid epidemic causes more than 100 overdoses daily in America and fewer than 1 in 5 treating physicians approve of the government’s handling of the crisis. These findings are from a new survey of 501 physicians conducted by InCrowd and McLean Hospital.

“The doctors we surveyed showed incredible passion for this topic—they had significant insight into fixing it,” says Danielle Schroth, InCrowd’s Director of Crowd Development. “They’re frustrated that they can’t do enough for their patients’ wellbeing.”

“Part of what got us into this current crisis was physician behavior, well-meaning physician behaviors,” says Rocco Iannucci, MD, of McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment. “The survey uncovered physicians’ pressures towards treating pain and addiction.”

The survey fielded by InCrowd, pioneer of real-time life science market intelligence, and McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programming, also found:

  • Nearly half (47%) disapprove of the federal government’s response
  • Forty-four percent called for stricter regulations to curb opioid abuse, while 18% wanted to discontinue opioid prescriptions all together
  • Ten percent wanted to end patient satisfaction surveys, which put pressure on physicians for positive patient ratings
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are the most preferred treatment alternative (68%), followed by lifestyle changes.

“There is limited education historically on treatment of pain,” says Dr. Iannucci. “So, doctors may only be familiar with a few things—perhaps Tylenol, ibuprofen, and then they move to opioids. More systematic education of medical students and residents in all specialties, and not just in pain specialization, is really important.”

NORML: Medical Marijuana Must Be Part Of Solution To Opioid Crisis

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: NORML ( National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) released the following statement regarding the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis first meeting this on June 16.

Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director said: “Tens of thousands of lives have been adversely impacted by the nation’s opioid epidemic. We must use every tool at our disposal to fight this crisis. Marijuana provides a safe and effective alternative for many of these patients and it is vital that the Committee does not ignore this important evidence in its discussions.”

“Given the make-up of the commission – which includes a number of longtime drug warriors such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, and former Office of National Drug Policy Control staffer Bertha Madras, it is crucial that citizens, advocates, doctors, and researchers alike elevate the science and data which shows marijuana is an effective tool in combating the opioid crisis, not the rhetoric of the failed War on Drugs.”

“Permitting marijuana sales to be regulated by licensed, state-authorized distributors rather than the black market run by criminal entrepreneurs and pushers of various other illicit drugs including opioids would likely result in fewer, not more, Americans abusing other illicit substances.”

Armentano’s latest op-ed is “Can marijuana help mitigate America’s opioid crisis?” published today in The Hill.